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The Vah River is the longest river entirely in Slovakia. In the past, rafters used the river Vah to float timber down from the mountainous regions of northern Slovakia. During the Communist era a chain of dams was constructed here. The Vah River Valley is often represented in Slovak folklore. It rises in the mountain valleys of the High and Low Tatras and flows through the historical regions of Liptov and Turiec, and the cities of Zilina, Trencin and Piestany spa. Over the centuries, the river valley was a main route of communication, protected by proud castles on high, rocky cliffs.
Cities have since arisen beneath these, and are nowadays the centres of life in this region. The oldest written relic in Slovakia – the Roman memorial plaque from 179 AD on the cliff below Trencin Castle – proves its strategic importance. This, the most northerly spot that Roman troops are known to have reached, was the site of a military camp – Laugaricio. In the Middle Ages, the mighty oligarch Matus Cak, in folklore referred to as the Lord of the Vah and the Tatras, built his residence at Trencin Castle.
During World War II, the Vah River region witnessed many fierce battles. At Strecno Castle even French partisans joined the skirmishes. Taking in the view from the French Partisans’ Memorial by the river, as it meanders through the Mala Fatra National Park, remains an unforgettable experience.
The Roman memorial plaque from 179 AD